Bohairic Coptic at The Polis Institute, Jerusalem

This website is created as part of an academic program of teaching Bohairic Coptic in full immersion at The Polis Institute for Languages and Humanities, Jerusalem.

The Egyptian-Coptic language is a unique cultural testimony that takes us on a journey starting around 3000 BCE and lasting up to our days.

Coptic, the last written phase of the Egyptian language, is the language of Egyptian Christians. Along the last millennium, people ceased speaking Coptic. Still, Copts pray in Coptic worldwide and preserve their cultural heritage by teaching their native language and studying it.

Various attempts to offer new lexical items and create a spoken variety of Coptic have been achieved over the years. Along the 19th century, some of the well-known figures attempting to teach spoken variety of Coptic are Iryan Moftah (1826–1886), who published a Bohairic grammar book and primer. Later, his student, Claudius Labib (1868–1918) published an extensive Copto-Arabic dictionary. These scholars, among others, promoted a new modern pronunciation and added many lexical innovations.

Scanned version of Iryan Moftah’s grammar and primer are available at
‘The Iryan Moftah Coptic Language and Religion Manuscript and Book Collection’
courtesy of American University in Cairo Rare Books and Special Collections Library.

A page of Coptic-Arabic Lexicon by Claudius Labib.
A scanned version is available at

Traditions of spoken Coptic exist all around the globe. Liturgy keeps the Coptic language alive. For example, in the hymn library of (, one can find a trilingual version of hymns, chants, and songs and readings in Coptic.
For example, a psalm chant of The Feast of the Theophany/Epiphany, by the Higher Institute of Coptic Studies (HICS):

Since 2017, we offer a Bohairic in Bohairic class at Polis Institute, Jerusalem.

This blog is meant to share our work and publications and serve as a co-operative ground for Bohairic students and teachers today.

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